By Derrick Kiplagat
The United Nations has denied media reports that Sudanese army held South African peace keepers in Darfur hostage in order for Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir to be released by the Government of South Africa after a court order barred him from leaving the country pending his arrest. An order for Bashir’s was issued by a South African Court where he was to be handed over for prosecution by the International Criminal Court.
“South Africa currently has 802 members of an infantry battalion deployed in Kutum, Malma and Mellit team sites in North Darfur. We can confirm that the mission ‘s South African troops were not held hostage or under any threat as reported in the media,” UN spokesman Farhan Haq said. The South African Government let the Sudanese President leave unhindered.
On Tuesday South African website News24 reported that South African troops had been surrounded by the Sudanese army in the western region of Darfur until Bashir landed in Khartoum. The ICC had issued warrants for his arrest in 2009 and 2010, accusing him of masterminding genocide and other atrocities in his bid to crush a revolt in the
Darfur Region a conflict that led to more than 300,000 deaths, the UN reported.
The Joint Union-United Nations Mission (UNAMID) has been deployed in the Darfur Region since 2007 with the mandate of stemming violence against the civilians. Darfur hasn’t seen order since 2003. The Darfur region is filled with mainly non-Arab rebels who decided to take up arms against the Arab Led Government in Khartoum accusing it of discrimination.